Covid-19 / Coronavirus Information

Essential Business List

Essential Business

Essential businesses to remain open

The Executive has published a list of essential businesses that are permitted to remain open to members of the public during the Coronavirus emergency.

The list provides clarity on what retail services and other venues may remain open in Northern Ireland, and which should close immediately.

Stormont ministers have confirmed that the following essential retail services should continue to trade:

• Supermarkets (excluding any cafes within them), convenience stores and corner shops
• Grocery markets – not including farmers markets, hot food markets or street food markets.
• Local fresh food suppliers like butchers, fishmongers and bakeries.
• Off Licences.
• Hot food takeaways - over the counter services only and not allowing an option to eat in.
• Pharmacies/Chemists and Health food shops.
• Dental surgeries, opticians, audiology, physiotherapy, chiropody and other professional vocational medical services – for urgent appointments only.
• Veterinary clinics and pet shops.
• Newsagents.
• Hardware and building supplies stores.
• Retail services in hospitals.
• Petrol stations, garages, and auto repair shops for urgent work only.
• High street banks, credit unions and cashpoints.
• Post offices.
• Funeral directors, crematoriums and related.
• Laundrettes and dry cleaners.
• Storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop-off points.
• Medical or storage services.
• Public car parks in towns and cities near food takeaway services.
• Public toilets.


The following non-essential retail services should close immediately:

• Clothes shops.
• Electronics shops.
• Hair, beauty and nail salons.
• All other non-essential retail shops.
• All other indoor and outdoor markets including non-food markets and car boot sales.
• Hotels, hostels, Bed and Breakfasts, Caravan Parks, Camping sites, Boarding Houses – except where caravans and mobile homes are being used as permanent residences and where hotels are providing emergency accommodation.
• Libraries.
• Community centres and youth centres.
• Places of worship – all churches should close to services except for funeral services. Weddings and baptisms should be postponed. If clergy want to live-stream for church services, they are free to do so.
• All indoor recreation sites such as bowling alleys, arcades, soft play areas.
• Enclosed spaces in public parks such as playgrounds, tennis courts and outdoor gyms.